A community known as Silverhill was first settled in this area prior to the Civil War. Some sources state that the area earned its name from the silver coins paid to workers in the local turpentine industry by their boss. Documents refer to the area by this name as early as 1861.
An actual town was established in 1897 by a group of men from the Chicago-based Svea Land Company, which bought 1,500 acres and began advertising to recent Swedish immigrants to relocate to the area (in much the same fashion that Cullman and Good Hope, both in Cullman County, were settled by German immigrants). These early settlers were generally farmers but had difficulty in earning a living because of the lack of a railway line and thus no way to get their harvested crops to market. As a result, many residents returned to the region from which they had originally come. A post office opened in 1899 and closed in 1926.
The remaining residents built the first school in 1904, and a hotel opened that same year. The Bay Minette and Fort Morgan Railroad came through the area in 1905, and in response, local farmers switched to shippable cash crops such as potatoes and cucumbers because they could reach larger markets. Satsuma oranges also briefly became a major crop in the area, and farmers began branching out into dairy farming. Beginning in 1909, a second group of settlers, this time from Czechoslovakia (then known as Bohemia), began moving to Silverhill to farm. Silverhill incorporated in August 1926.
Silverhill's population according to the 2010 Census was 706. Of that number, 94.3 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 5.7 percent as Hispanic or Latino, 1.7 percent as African American, 0.6 percent as two or more races, 0.3 percent as Asian, and 0.1 percent as Native American. The town's median household income, according to 2010 estimates, was $42,333, and the per capita income was $19,366.
According to 2010 Census estimates, the work force in Silverhill was divided among the following industrial categories:
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (24.0 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing and utilities (23.5 percent)
· Retail trade (17.9 percent)
· Construction (15.0 percent)
· Manufacturing (5.9 percent)
· Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (5.6 percent)
· Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (2.9 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (1.7 percent)
· Public administration (1.7 percent)
· Information (1.0 percent)
· Wholesale trade (0.7 percent)
Schools in Silverhill are part of the Baldwin County school system; the town has approximately 415 students and 25 teachers in to one elementary school.
Silverhill is bisected by County Road 55 running north-south and State Highway 104 running east-west.
Events and Places of Interest
People's Supply Company is listed on both the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage and the National Register of Historic Places. The State Bank of Silverhill and the Svea Land Company Office also are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Svea Land Company building is now the Oscar Johnson Public Library, named for lifelong Silverhill resident and original
member of the Svea Land Company. The building also houses a museum.
Additiona l Resources
Baldwin County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Baldwin County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, Inc., 2001.
Comings, L. J. Newcomb, and Martha M. Albers. A Brief History of Baldwin County. Fairhope, Ala.: Baldwin County Historical Society, 1928.
James P. Kaetz
Published February 18, 2013
Last updated February 18, 2013